Day 10: Total distance 25kms. Total ascent: 258m Total descent 394m
Weather: Cloudy and warm. Temperature: 27
It does seem that whenever we plan a “short rest day” that events conspire against us! Today was no exception, as we had originally just planned a short ‘recovery’ 9km to the monastery at Samos after a ‘quick’ check-up of Tgirl8’s arm at the local medical centre. The monastery has an albergue which is supposed to be well worth staying at, and you can also take tours of the monastery. We managed to arrive at the medical centre in Triacastela just after 8am, and despite the staff not speaking any English we managed to communicate that Tessa’s arm was needing to be seen by a doctor. Just like a Kiwi doctor’s office, it wasn’t until an hour and a half later that we actually got to speak to the doctor, who was friendly, and after a quick consultation with a second doctor who thankfully spoke some English, it was confirmed that Tgirl8 would need to be seen by a doctor at the paediatric centre in Sarria, which was the closest ‘big’ town. This meant that our daily plan needed a quick reorganisation.
We decided that MamaBear would take Tgirl8 and ERgirl6 to Sarria….she’ll write about that tomorrow, and for now I’ll tell you the rest. As previously mentioned, we had planned to walk to and stay at Samos at the monastery there. That was only a 9km walk, however with MamaBear and Tessa now needing to head to Sarria, we decided that the best option would also be for ERgirl8 to accompany mum and sister in the taxi to Sarria and for the rest of us to walk there to all meet up in the afternoon. The only issue being that Sarria was a 19km walk, and it was now 10am! Getting to Sarria before dark was not the problem, but getting to Sarria in time to find eleven spare beds at an albergue was! Typically, most of the albergue we have stayed at have been complet (full) by 3pm. We would therefore need to walk to Sarria via the direct route (19kms), not via the monastery at Samos (24kms). Decision made, we headed to the nearest ‘bar’ to order a taxi for the three girls, and then the rest of us hit the road.
Now, it may appear a strange co-incidence that the first time that we were walking without master-navigator MamaBear, that the signage out of town would be erroneous, but it IS true! At the first intersection, as expected, the route to Samos was signposted to the left, the route to Sarria via San Xil was to the right. We duly went right, down the the main road and started walking. However, FadaBear’s sense of direction does sometimes work, and after a couple of kilometers I pulled out my phone to check the map, and to our disbelief and dismay it confirmed we were on the road to Samos! The casual reader may well ask why this simple check wasn’t performed twenty minutes earlier – my only defence is that in the previous ten days of walking the Camino the signage had been fantastic. How were we to know today the signs would play tricks on us?
Given we had now gone 2kms down the road, we decided it would gain nothing to retrace our steps back to our planned route, so we set our sights on what would now be a 24km walk instead of a 19km walk. As GrandpaBear joked..”silently they trudged on, each to their own dark thoughts…”!! On the bright side, we would get to see the monastery after all!
In actual fact, the walk to Samos was fantastic – heavily wooded sections of the camino with some lovely small villages. However, it was soon evident that the previous days long treks had taken their toll on Mboy8 and Jboy16’s legs. It would be a long day!
We arrived at Samos in good time at 12:30 pm and had lunch across the river from the monastery, which was a magnificent sight as you crested the hill and looked down into the village; it dominated the centre of town.
The camino from Samos to Sarria goes cross country and we decided to try and save time by following the main road instead. In the end, this did (we think) save us a potential couple of kilometers but it did mean that the afternoon’s walk was hot and uninspiring. Unfortunately, Mboy8’s legs had given up on him, his calves were cramping and he was in a fair bit of pain for most of the walk. To his credit he kept pushing on despite the pain and did not grumble at all. Jboy16 was also suffering from sore feet but also battled on. One vivid memory is finding a vending machine, literally on the side of the main road, at the 18km mark and scrabbling around between us for enough loose change to get one bottle of lovely COLD drink that we rationed between the eight of us! The rest of the afternoon was a blur – but eventually we did walk in to Sarria just after 4pm.
FadaBear and Mamabear had been keeping in touch through the afternoon via TXT, and had planned to meet up at Rua Maior where a number of albergue were located. Freakishly, just as we were walking up the road, MamaBear drove up in the taxi and spotted us. The taxi driver had not known where to go as the street did not show up on his GPS so he was driving around trying to find it! The municipal albergue was complet as expected – the only cheap albergue in town. Thankfully, we managed to find an albergue with eleven free beds just 50m up the road – at the exorbitant rate of 8 Euros per person (the cheap albergue had typically been 5 Euros)! We even managed to communicate that we wanted to stay an extra night to have a rest day and the proprietor agreed – many albergues will only allow one night’s stay for pilgrims. You get a fair bit more comfort in an 8 Euro establishment it would appear, as this place is lovely. A welcome haven at the end of a LONG LONG LONG day!
To celebrate, GrandpaBear shouted us all to a pilgrims meal at the local restaurant! Mboy8 needed to be carried home from the restaurant as his legs had totally seized up on him and in addition exhaustion had overwhelmed him. I know some distinct and deep memories will have been forged today! Tomorrow WILL BE a rest day!
Tags: 2012, postcard: Spain